A look back at the Sanatoga Fire Company #1
A beautiful winter's morning in the month of Jan. 1908, as the Citizens in the village of Sanatoga. were awakening, and moving out to their duties and callings of the day, the cry of fire sounded out, and was carried more distinctly as it seemed by the morning's clear, bracing atmosphere. Long View Mansion was on fire, many of the villagers left their work and ran to give their assistance in whatever way they possibly could, but being without any fire fighting apparatus they where almost compelled to stand by helpless and see the seething flames eat up Long View Mansion. While the flames
were slowly but steadily whipping their way from the interior to the outer part and thence to the barn, various remarks were heard and in their eager desire to save this mansion with its contents, every effort was put forth.
The call was sent to Pottstown Fire Department, and while they were almost four miles away, they responded, and rushed a steam engine and a number of firemen to the Sanatoga Lake, the nearest water supply, and soon had a stream of water playing on the flames. But, ah yes, it was too late, the distance too far, the flames could not be controlled, and the buildings were destroyed. It was while the villagers had to stand and see a beautiful mansion burned that they realized it could have been saved if the Pottstown responding firemen would not have had the long distance to cope with, or, had our villagers been equipped with the proper fire fighting apparatus.
And as they realized and saw these needs, many times was said we need fire protection, we need fire fighting apparatus, and on their way home a meeting was talked of and called to be on Jan. 21, in Kurtz's building.
At this meeting the following villagers met: J. K. Buchert, A. C. Wismer, Harry Scheffy, L. K. Drumheller, J. B. Krause, S. J. Kurtz, Pharus Schock, Eben Stewart, S. K. Neifer, Morris DeKalb, Harrison Neifer, Erwin Repert, Herbert Kurtz and Eph. S. Hartenstine. S. J. Kurtz was chosen chairman and J. K. Buchert, secretary. After discussing matters, the following committee was appointed: A. C. Wismer, Eph. S. Hartenstine, L. K. Drumheller, J. K. Buchert and J. B. Krause. They were to look into the cost, etc., of various fire apparatus and report at the next meeting on Jan. 28th.
At this meeting the additional parties present were Sylvester DeKalb, James Rowan, Wm. B. Levengood, C. A. Shuhart, J. M. Yerger, S. C. Brooke, F. C. Newhard, Ed. M. Rhoads, Chas. Puhl, Leroy Krause, Wm. Scheffey and John Wensel. At this our second meeting a company to be known as the Sanatoga Fire Company, No. I, was organized, and the following officers were elected: S. J. Kurtz, President; Eph. S. Hartens tine, Vice-president; J. K. Buchert, Recording Secretary;
J. M. Yerger, Financial Secretary, and Pharus Shock, Treasurer. The President at this meeting appointed a committee to draw up a Constitution and by-laws for the company.
Feb. 4th at our third meeting, we adopted the Constitution and By-laws and heard a report that $260 had been subscribed toward a fire apparatus, and the committee acting on the same was instructed to receive bids on various engines, apparatus, etc. Following the reports of these committees as to the cost of machines, the success, and the generous subscriptions and donations the company received caused the following committee to he appointed to purchase: A. C. Wismer, J. K. Buchert, Pharus Schock, J. M. Yerger, and Eph. S. Hartenstine. On Mar. 3 after hearing the claims of half a dozen different representatives of about the same number of different engines, machines, etc., on the market, the purchasing Committee decided to purchase the Hows water and chemical five-wheel apparatus, and ordered the same sent on, from their factory in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The need of more officiating members then presented itself, to properly receive and care for our new purchase and C. A. Shuhart was chosen as our chief, while Edward Smith, D. K. Drumheller, S. H. Smith, J. M. Verger and S. G. Brooke were elected directors. Chief Engineer, H. Scheffey, Assistant Engineers, F. C. Newhard, and A. C. Wismer, Trustees, Henry Scheffey, Pharus Schock and Sylvester Dekalb.
May 12th the committee on purchasing reported that the new machine was on the car at Pottstown and would be brought to Sanatoga the next day. After a thorough test and demonstration of its work, of which many of you may recollect, at Sanatoga Lake it was accepted and on May 26 the following committee was appointed to purchase ground on which to erect a house to properly care for the apparatus. C. A. Shuhart, A. C. Wismer. L. K. Druntheller, Pharus Schock and J. K. Buchert, after looking over and considering Different building sites offered them, they decided on and, bought the lot the house now occupies.
About this time the company also received an invitation from the Pottstown Fire Co. to participate in a monster 4th of July parade. Giving the invitation due consideration they accepted the invitation and went in line with their apparatus for the first time represented with just Thirty members. The company was photographed on the morning of the Fourth, also a picture of the apparatus was taken. The two pictures were framed, and now hang in place in their room in the new building. They were a gift to the company from Mr. Melvin B. Krause.
About this time the Friendship Hook, Ladder and Hose Company, of Royersford presented us with a large fire gong alarm, the same being in position today on their new ground. As the building progressed steadily the company removed its meetings from the Kurtz place to its new rooms and while they were Meeting with the support of the community and their friends, both the committees and the company, they have completed their building and on Saturday, Oct. 21st, 1911, with proper exercises and the good will and fellowship of participating firemen and friends, of home and elsewhere, will turn the same over to the company, a new home, a fitting place in which to meet their brother firemen and friends.